ZombiU had a lot stacked against it before it arrived. It's a launch game for a new Nintendo platform, from a company which famously over-promised and under-delivered with another launch game, Red Steel, for the Wii in 2006. It doesn't help that the Ubisoft Montpellier game is called ZombiU, a name that screams "bland, poorly-executed shovelware." But the survival-focused action of ZombiU does a lot to set itself apart from the horde of Wii U launch games: it features the most interesting use of the console's tablet-like controller, can be punishingly difficult, and returns the survival-horror genre to its roots of surviving on scraps and fearing for your life around every corner.
The premise of ZombiU is a simple, if not overused, one. An outbreak has turned the city – London this time – into a feeding ground for the undead. As you scour the city for the last remnants of weapons and supplies, you start uncovering the mystery surrounding the outbreak.
The real majesty of ZombiU is found within its moment-to-moment progression. There's an internal struggle that continues to boil forward throughout the game, leaving you to question when you should dig in to that valuable inventory. It may seem like a good idea to burn ammo on a small group of brain-munching monsters in one room, but what if the next area poses a greater threat? Could you survive with your trusty, slow-swinging cricket bat for now? Is it worth moving forward an inch now, only to be set back miles later? It's the fear of the unknown, and your potential death, that makes those moments so intense.